Louisiana faces shortage of affordable housing for low income households

Louisiana faces shortage of affordable housing for low income households
Louisiana faces shortage of affordable housing for low income households(Source: National Low Income Housing Coalition)
Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 10:38 AM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - In a study done by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and Housing Louisiana, there is a shortage of 7.3 million affordable and available rental homes for extremely low-income renter households nationwide. The study says there are 33 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 extremely low-income renter households.

NLIHC says in Louisiana there are 191,769 extremely low-income households, but only 85,987 affordable rental homes available to them. Compared to the nationwide statistic, Louisia has only 45 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 households with extremely low incomes. With a shortage of 105,782, 68% of renters are severely housing cost-burdened, spending more than half of their incomes on housing.

President of Housing Louisiana Andreanicia Morris says Louisiana is in the midst of a worsening housing crisis. Morris says last year was “sky-high utility rates and this year it’s increasing insurance rates and rent making residents worry about being able to keep their homes.” Executive Director and CEO of the St. Tammany Parish Habitat for Humanity Kentrell Jones says the problem is being felt across the state. Jones says, “We must create a comprehensive housing strategy to address the rising rental rates and lack of housing stock. Low-income renters are paying more than 50% of their income on housing leaving little to no income to use towards other necessities. Unaffordable housing and strained budgets lead to overcrowding, homelessness, and health issues. Policymakers at all levels should prioritize housing affordability by making additional capital investments in housing.”

The study says in 2020 there were 6 million renters behind on rent. As of March 2022, the number was down slightly to 5.4 million with extremely low-income households being two-thirds of that number. In Louisiana, 32& of renter households are considered extremely low-income.

Ramonica Hollins, a resident of Monroe, says her rent was increased by $300 causing her to have to move. “I have 3 children and they were forced to change schools, which is difficult for them. My life would be so much easier if I had the same rent and a law in place that would say rent could not be raised if you made a certain amount of money”, Hollins says.

According to the study, while rental inflation has cooled going into 2023, extremely low-income renters will continue to face significant barriers to finding and maintaining affordable housing, as their incomes are insufficient to cover even modest rental prices. Severely cost-burdened poor households are more likely than other renters to sacrifice other necessities like healthy food and healthcare to pay the rent and to experience unstable housing situations like evictions.